This bowl is made of 'marbled' or xipi (rhinoceros hide) lacquer. This technique involved the application in layers of different colours of lacquer over an uneven ground. It is then polished so that the different colours appear in a marbled pattern over the surface of the vessel.
Early examples of xipi lacquer are extremely rare, but a six-lobed box in this technique was formerly in the collection of Sir Harry Garner, illustrated in Chinese and Associated Lacquer from the Garner Collection, British Museum, London, 1973, no. 20, pl. 7b. The Garner box has been dated to the 15th-16th century, and it is noticeable that its surface is not so smoothly polished as that of the present bowl. Compare also a large circular box and cover (23.9 cm. diam.) decorated with xipi lacquer over a hide body, dated to the Ming period, illustrated by Wang Shixiang, Ancient Chinese Lacquerware, no. 69.